The 8 Best Places to Visit in Marrakech

Where to sample the culture on your first visit to the city

Marrakech is a carnival of colours, scents, sounds and tastes that has fascinated tourists and travellers for centuries. It’s a vibrant city that buzzes with life year-round, from its famously noisy souks to the serene roof top-riads and tranquil hammam spas.

  1. Wonder at Bahia Palace
  2. Sojourn in Jardin Majorelle
  3. Marvel at Medersa of Ben Youssef
  4. Snap a photo of Koutoubia Minaret
  5. Soak up the Atmosphere at Badi Palace
  6. Explore the Saadian Tombs
  7. Immerse yourself in the Medina and Souks
  8. Feel like a Local at Djemaa el-Fnaa

We’ve collected the most-popular and best places to visit in Marrakech, especially if this is your first stop in the city, or in Morocco. From ornate palaces and atmospheric ruins to shaded garden oases and bustling markets – make these your Marrakech must-sees.

1. Wonder at Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace is, without a doubt, one of the most stunning places to visit in Marrakech. Everything about this palace, whose name means ‘brilliance’, was designed to be stunning – bigger, more ornate and more breath-taking than anything of its time. Wander through hall upon hall of tiled walls, floors and ceilings in a rainbow of colours, under archways of intricately carved wood and impressive stucco; through shady courtyards filled with orange trees and fountains and rooms bathed in coloured light from stained-glass windows. You can easily spend a day here, photographing the atmospheric spaces, marvelling at the colour and symmetry, and browsing the current exhibitions.

Open: 08:00–17:00

Price: 70 DH pp

2. Sojourn in Jardin Majorelle

These lush botanical gardens are an art-lover’s paradise. Created by painter Jacques Majorelle, originally from France, countless cacti, palms, ferns and flowers unfold along the avenues of this garden, lined with tumbling bougainvillea and centred around delicately splashing water features. The space is punctuated by bridges, paths, pots and buildings in its characteristic blue – now known as Majorelle Blue. Half-garden half-gallery, with unexpected pops of colour and with the iconic mansion at the centre, this shady space is perfect for an afternoon’s sojourn. The garden captured the imagination of Yves Saint Laurent, who purchased it and had his ashes scattered here. Fashion lovers will want to make a pilgrimage to the Saint Laurent museum just next door. It’s an architectural highlight in its own right and home to an enchanting collection of designs, art and photographs.

Jardin Majorelle: 08:00–18:00, 150 DH

Musee Yves Saint Laurent: 10:00–18:00, 130 DH (combo ticket for both 300 DH)

3. Marvel at Medersa of Ben Youssef

This former theological college and centre of Quranic study is now one of the one of the finest examples of Saadian era artistry in Morocco. Its ornate interior is a maze of colourful tiles, intricate arches, cedar-wood detailing and sun-drenched courtyards. Red sandstone walls and arches are decorated with intricate geometric patterns and carved stucco. It’s no wonder it’s been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. You’ll find it opposite the Ben Youssef mosque (which non-Muslim visitors can’t enter) in the northern medina of Marrakesh, just a ten-minute walk from Djemaa el Fna.

Open: 09:00–18:00

Price: 40 DH

4. Snap a photo of Koutoubia Minaret

The minaret of Koutoubia Mosque towers over its surrounds, undoubtedly one of the top sights in Marrakesh. This iconic red sandstone tower has become a symbol of the city and is decorated with ornamental turquoise tiling, arches and calligraphy. It’s surrounded by peaceful gardens and water features – a popular place for locals to contemplate, meet and picnic. Of course, non-Muslim visitors are not permitted inside the mosque, but the view from the outside if the postcard of Morocco you simply must snap to say you’ve been here.

Best picture: Along the avenue, capturing the fountain, in Lalla Hasna park

Location: Av. Hommane Al Fatouaki

5. Soak up the Atmosphere at Badi Palace

The ruins of Al-Mansour’s once-grand palace are one of the most popular places to visit in Marrakech. Far from its former glory, only some of the mosaics and tiles remain, but the real beauty is in the atmosphere. The tall, pink-red walls and pavilions are reflected perfectly in the glassy pools throughout the grounds. Storks nest atop the walls and towers – favourites with visitors for pictures – and walking around the walls gives a spectacular view over the city beyond. There’s something serene about the peaceful pools and sunken gardens and the whole palace complex is a photographer’s dream. It’s also close to the ancient Jewish quarter Mellah and the palm-lined Place des Ferblantiers square, which are also worth exploring.

Open: 09:00–17:00, Rue Touareg/Rue de Berrima

Price: 70 DH

6. Explore the Saadian Tombs

These impressive tombs date back to the 16th century and are the final resting place of over 50 members of the Saadian dynasty who once ruled here. As you might expect, they are ornate, sprawling and atmospheric. The tombs are surrounded by verdant gardens, with vines climbing the pink-stone walls and flowers sprouting from every crack. Beautifully coloured tiles line the floors while walls are decorated with intricate stucco carvings depicting scenes from Islamic mythology and history.

Price: 60 DH

Open: 09:00–17:00, enter near the Kasbah Mosque on Rue Kasbah

7. Immerse yourself in the Medina and Souks

One of the top sights in Marrakech, and the one most people dream of when they book their break, is the medina and its many vibrant souks or markets. The medina (meaning old town) is a maze of narrow streets lined with sandstone buildings; a kaleidoscope of sights, smells and sounds. There are dozens of different souks, each with their theme and merits. The souks start just beyond Djemaa el-Fnaa and one of the most popular is the Place des Espices, where you’ll find stalls selling richly coloured, powdered herbs and spices, as well as traditional perfumeries and tea shops. There’s the carpet souk, formerly an old caravansary, Souk Haddadine is the metalwork and lamps area, and Soul Smata is full of traditional clothing stalls. Souk Semmarine is perpetually popular with tourists, a somewhat-chaotic cacophony selling everything from spices and lamps to slippers and souvenirs, trinkets, tagines and sweet treats.

Souk Semmarine: 09:00–21:00, Souk Semmarine rd, north of Djemaa al-Fnaa

Souk Haddadine: 09:00–19:30, north of Souk Semmarine

8. Feel like a Local at Djemaa el-Fnaa

This large, bustling square is the beating heart of the city and one of the best places to visit in Marrakech, especially if it’s your first visit. Djemaa El Fna is filled with market stalls day and night, piled high with bric-a-brac and souvenirs, interspersed with musicians, storytellers and, of course, snake charmers. While it’s good fun during the day, night-time here is a must-do Marrakech experience, when the vibrant square is noisy and glowing with light – it’s open until midnight most nights. The northern section of the square is your spot for cheap evening meals and snacks and is lined with cafés offering a shady space during the day and respite from the patter at night. Head up to a café’s roof terrace for great panoramic views of the busy Djemaa El Fna below.

Where: Avenue Mohammed V

Food to try: Fresh orange juice, merguez sausage, maakouda potato cake, calamari (stall 14)

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